J&K: CAT Directs Govt To Release Pension, Retirement Benefits Of Former IAS Officer

639

Jammu, April 16: A Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal comprising of Chairman Justice L Narasimha Reddy and Administrative Member Pardeep Kumar directed to release the regular pension and other retirement benefits of the applicant former IAS officer, within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, subject to the right to take necessary steps in accordance with Rule 6 of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, depending on the outcome of criminal cases pending against him.

It is to mention here that one Mirza Habib-ul-Hassan Beig, who was an IAS officer of 1980 batch and was in the Jammu & Kashmir cadre but in May, 1997, an FIR No 22 of 1997 was registered against him, alleging that he possessed properties, disproportionate to his known source of income.

Also Read:

Following which, he was placed under suspension, through order dated 30.05.1997 and thereafter he was reinstated into service on 20.04.2001. On 04.04.1997, the batch mates of the applicant in the cadre were promoted to STS. However, his case was not considered. He attained the age of superannuation on 31.08.2003 and retired from service. & he was not extended the regular pension and other retirement benefits.

He filed SWP No.2264/2014 before the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, claiming multiple reliefs. CAT after gone through the contents of petition observed that the career of the applicant, as an IAS officer met with a roadblock in the year 1997.

His residential premises were raided and an FIR No.22 of 1994 was registered, alleging that he possessed assets, disproportionate to his known source of income. He was placed under suspension immediately. Thereafter, three more FIRs were filed. He was reinstated into service in 2001 and ultimately, he retired from service on 31.08.2003.

The grievance of the applicant is twofold. The first is about the denial of promotion to STS and the second is about withholding of full pensionary benefits. The applicant became otherwise eligible for promotion to STS in the year 1997, when the DPC met for that purpose. The order of promotion was issued on 04.04.1998.

It may be true that there was no FIR against the applicant when the DPC met for selection of officers for promotion to STS. We would have certainly extended the relief of consideration for promotion to STS, had the same state of affairs remained. Few days after the DPC met, the residential premises of the applicant were raided and FIR was registered against him.

Assuming that the name of the applicant is deemed to have been cleared by the DPC, the fact that the FIR came to be registered, before any order of promotion was issued, becomes relevant. Coming to the question of pensionary benefits, CAT observed that it is no doubt true that the applicant was sanctioned the provisional pension on his retirement.

This appears to be on the analogy of Rule 69 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. However, the IAS officers are covered by different set of Rules, i.e., AIS Pension Rules. Rule 6 thereof is akin to Rule 69 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. That provision gets attracted only when the officer is found guilty of any criminal act or misconduct in the departmental proceedings. Such a situation does not exist in the case of the applicant, in view of the fact that the criminal cases are still pending.

It is not even the case of the respondents that any finding as to serious misconduct was given against the applicant, either in the criminal case or departmental proceedings. Though the applicant has drawn parity with other similarly situated officers, we do not deal with that aspect in detail, in view of the fact that the applicant is facing as many as four criminal cases at this stage.

CAT allowed the petition partly and ordered that the matter pertaining to the promotion of applicant to STS shall be dealt with after conclusion of the criminal cases pending against the applicant, and depending upon the outcome thereof and also directed the respondents to release the regular pension and other retirement benefits of the applicant, within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, subject to the right to take necessary steps in accordance with Rule 6 of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, depending on the outcome of criminal cases pending against him.